Lewis Hamilton's 100 F1 wins rated
To mark Lewis Hamilton's 100th Formula 1 win at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix we have rated and ranked every single one, revealing the breadth and depth of the 7-time champion's talent.
It started at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 10, 2007. Back then, Lewis Hamilton was a 22-year-old rookie with McLaren, taking part in his sixth Formula 1 race.
His win in Canada was significant, making him the first black driver to win an F1 grand prix. As world titles arrived, his name would become as big as the sport itself and by 2021, it was only a matter of time before his 100th victory arrived. But which are his best?
Over the following pages, Jake Williams-Smith ranks each of those wins from 100 to 11 in ascending order of greatness, while our GP editor Mark Hughes picks his top 10 defining drives
Is there such a thing as a ‘worst win’? Well , if we had to pick one it would be this 2018 victory, which came courtesy of team orders rather than any innate genius from Hamilton. Mercedes had locked out the front row in Sochi but it was Valtteri Bottas who lined up on pole ahead of his team-mate. Hamilton got a poor getaway but with a co-operative Bottas handing him a tow, he fended off Vettel to secure P2 into Turn 2. Hamilton stuck with Bottas through the first stint to keep the pressure on but couldn’t get in range for an overtake until Mercedes told Bottas to make way for his team-mate to secure the victory. “It is definitely a win on my list that I am least proud of,” said a downbeat Hamilton afterwards.
Verdict: Bottas moved aside for Hamilton to win.
The first F1 Russian GP took place as the 2014 season reached its final stages. Hamilton had taken pole ahead of team-mate Rosberg. The German got a tow into Turn 2 and looked to seize the lead on the inside but flat-spotted under braking. Hamilton was through and there was no hope of catching him after that.
Verdict: An easy win after Rosberg’s lock-up
Hamilton started on pole but a safety car closed the field up. He led comfortably at the restart until his only pitstop on lap 25, relinquishing the lead to team-mate Rosberg, who then also pitted. Hamilton’s win looked effortless: a dominant 1-2 for Mercedes.
Verdict: As simple as they come.
Rosberg started on pole with Hamilton alongside and had the better start of the two Mercedes drivers. The pair almost collided as the safety car was deployed out of T3. Rosberg led comfortably at the restart but couldn’t shake his team-mate. He reported throttle issues as Hamilton applied the pressure. A mistake on lap seven opened the door for Hamilton, and he eased by. Rosberg’s throttle sticking in the braking zones forced him out, dealing a death blow to his title aspirations. Hamilton was required only to put in a straightforward drive to take his ninth win of the season.
Verdict: Rosberg’s unreliability gifted the win.
This was another victory that was down more to the misfortune of others than the quality of Hamilton. Vettel pipped him to pole and the Mercedes couldn’t get close enough to the Ferrari through the first stint. Bottas ran a long first stint to take the lead until a safety car deployed. Vettel attacked into the first corner on the restart but locked up; Bottas’ prospects looked good until a puncture struck. It promoted team-mate Hamilton into first and gave a victory that looked unlikely until the end.
Verdict A poor day for Lewis until Bottas’s bad luck struck.
This race will be remembered for Max Verstappen’s drive more than Hamilton’s victory. With the Ferraris on mediums and the Mercedes duo on softs, there was potential for the Scuderia to steal a tactical advantage if Vettel could clear pole-sitter Hamilton early on. But it was Verstappen who proved the main threat, rising from fifth on the grid to second by lap 10. Such was the race pace of the Red Bull, Mercedes was forced to pit Hamilton to protect from a potential undercut. After his own stop, Verstappen roared up to the back of the Mercedes and claimed the lead on lap 40. It was short-lived joy for Red Bull though. Incredibly, Verstappen collided with the Force India of Esteban Ocon sending Verstappen spinning and let Hamilton take a lead he would ultimately hold on to.
Verdict: Verstappen quickest on the day.
Pole was decided by 0.007sec in Hamilton’s favour under the Singapore lights but the drama wasn’t finished in the Mercedes camp. Rosberg had a problem with his steering wheel, which couldn’t be fixed, leaving Hamilton as the lone Mercedes. With no serious competition he led Vettel to an easy victory.
Verdict: It was ultimately no contest after Rosberg’s issues on the grid.
Abu Dhabi 2011
Vettel led from pole but his advantage lasted just two corners due to a puncture and Hamilton took the lead. In the latter stages Ferrari’s Alonso closed the gap on the McLaren driver but it proved a fruitless attempt.
Verdict: Vettel’s puncture and spin at the start left Hamilton unchallenged at the front.
Emilia Romagna 2020
Mercedes’ Bottas claimed pole and led on the opening lap, while Verstappen jumped Hamilton for second. A stop for Verstappen and Bottas on laps 18 and 19 put Hamilton into the lead. He was told to extend on the first stint. Then a virtual safety car was deployed just as Hamilton reached pit entry. It meant he retained the lead and rejoined with a gap of 10sec. An unspectacular 93rd GP win.
Verdict: The VSC handed the win on a plate.
Rosberg had a healthy advantage in the championship over teammate Hamilton, and the Brit had to keep his title hopes alive with victory. He took pole but on Turn 1 locked-up and skipped across Turn 2, retaining the lead in the process. He was first following pitstops and with the Red Bulls and Ferraris squabbling, led home a Mercedes 1-2.
Verdict: Controversial start meant he retained the lead.
F1 kicked off 2020 with a double-header at the Red Bull Ring. Hamilton’s title defence faltered in round one as team-mate Bottas took victory, but he bounced back at the second race. From pole, he fended off Verstappen and Carlos Sainz and built a comfortable lead. He made his sole stop on lap 27, and following his teammate’s stop, Hamilton retook the lead and went on to take his 85th career win.
Verdict: A dominant Mercedes 1-2, with Lewis easing to victory.
Abu Dhabi 2018
An all-Mercedes front-row was consolidated by Hamilton into a lead over Bottas, and an early safety car for the flipped Renault of Nico Hülkenberg made sure the Silver Arrows headed the field. A virtual safety car on lap eight for the broken-down Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen allowed Hamilton to pit and feed back into fifth. From there, he was 9sec off the lead and not needing to visit the pits for the rest of the night. The last of the front-runners, Daniel Ricciardo, pitted on lap 34, handing the lead back to Hamilton and from there the Mercedes driver cruised to victory.
Verdict: A simple win for Mercedes.
From the front of a damp track, Hamilton surged to an early lead until a crash for Antonio Giovinazzi brought out the safety car. The pause allowed Hamilton to swap to dry tyres without losing position. The safety car was withdrawn on lap 10 and Hamilton sprinted clear.
Verdict: A nicely timed safety car worked to his advantage and no challenger emerged afterwards.
The newly crowned seven-time world champion started from pole and had the lead over Verstappen when red flags were thrown for a frightening fireball crash for Romain Grosjean. After an 80-minute delay, the race was restarted from the grid. Hamilton matched his original start to keep first but there was more drama behind as Stroll was sent upside down by Daniil Kvyat, bringing out the safety car. Hamilton sprinted clear again; it was a fifth consecutive victory and his 11th of 2020.
Verdict: Nobody got close and the Mercedes was comfortably quicker than anything else on track.
Hamilton had to win in Austin to keep his title hopes alive and got off to a good start as Rosberg battled Ricciardo behind. He had a healthy advantage following the first pitstops, while title rival Rosberg was in third. Verstappen’s gearbox failure brought out the VSC, allowing Hamilton to pit from the lead having not made his second stop. His 50th F1 win was comfortable.
Verdict: That VSC again…
Ferrari proved its pre-season form was no fluke and took the front of the grid. Hamilton moved past Bottas to third. Following the first stops, Hamilton couldn’t make gains on Leclerc and a second stop put him behind Vettel. Hamilton made his way round the outside as Vettel spun. Second looked to be the best Hamilton could get until an engine issue left Leclerc defenceless. A rare ‘lucky’ win for Lewis.
Verdict: Hamilton pressured Vettel into a spin but Leclerc’s failure gift-wrapped the win.
Rumours of rain meant Ferrari gambled on inters in qualifying, which proved to be a critical error as the dry tyres were the quicker option and Hamilton claimed pole while title rival Vettel was left ninth on the grid. Vettel was up to fourth by the end of the first lap but contact with Verstappen at Spoon Curve on lap eight sent him down the order. Hamilton remained out in front for the duration of the race, leading every lap to claim his ninth victory of 2018 and leave Vettel’s title aspirations in the Suzuka gutter.
Verdict: Ferrari’s error and another Vettel spin meant Hamilton was in cruise control.
It was a two-car show for the Three-Pointed Star in Montreal. Rosberg’s strong launch off the line put Hamilton under pressure for the lead but the pole man held first. The Briton was comfortable in the opening laps as Rosberg pushed too hard and ran deep into the hairpin. Hamilton remained out in front after both had stopped and led all the way, finishing 2.2sec clear of Rosberg.
Verdict: A straight fight between the Mercedes duo that ultimately fell flat.
While headlines centred on the ‘Crashgate’ scandal from ’08, Hamilton was the one taking up the attention on Sunday. He secured pole ahead of Vettel and Rosberg and retained in the lead during the first stint of the race. Vettel kept close until a penalty for speeding in the pits took him out of contention. The championship contenders encountered their own problems, but Hamilton kept out of trouble. It was Hamilton’s second win during a relatively barren season.
Verdict: His closest challenger Vettel fell away to a penalty.
Abu Dhabi 2014
A first title with Mercedes went right down to the wire. Pole for Rosberg gave him the advantage but an ERS failure pushed him down the order. Yes, this was the win that gave Hamilton the title but it was an underwhelming end to the season.
Verdict: The double-points pressure was on but Rosberg’s ERS failure crippled the finale.
The Mercedes duo were yet to finish outside the top two during the opening four rounds and the Spanish GP was to be no different. Bottas took pole but on the long run into Turn 1, Hamilton slipped down the inside to take first as the Finn defended from Vettel to hold on to second. With the lead secured, Hamilton just extended the gap, keeping his team-mate 8-10sec behind through the afternoon. He took fastest lap but was denied a grand slam by Bottas’ pole the day before.
Verdict: A race decided by Turn 1.
A dominant Hamilton victory. He cleared pole man Bottas into the first corner and sprinted off into the distance. A third consecutive 1-2 for Mercedes showed how easy things were for the Constructors’ champions.
Verdict: A victory at F1’s 1000th race that didn’t live up to the billing.
A crash at Turn 3 involving several drivers brought out a safety car and the restart resulted in another pile-up. On the second start Hamilton swept around the outside of his team-mate to take the lead. A crash for Stroll necessitated barrier repairs; a third grid launch was controlled by Hamilton to give victory to Mercedes.
Verdict: A disjointed three-parter that was ultimately easy for Lewis.
A fifth pole position in seven races set Hamilton up for a win at Spa. He defended the lead into La Source and through Eau Rouge, escaping the threat of a slipstream from behind. An early safety car following a Giovinazzi crash allowed most drivers to pit and retain position, Hamilton included. Racing resumed on lap 14 and like before, Hamilton escaped up the road without much of a challenge. By halfway, the gap to the leader was 3sec. As frontrunners nursed their tyres to avoid taking a second stop, Hamilton cruised to a win by 8.4sec.
Verdict: No real threat to Hamilton but a dominant performance nonetheless.
Hamilton led from pole; Vettel retired on lap four, a faulty sparkplug the culprit, leaving Hamilton to fight off Verstappen, who applied serious pressure. The Dutchman harried the leader as the pair lapped traffic until Alonso baulked the Red Bull, giving Hamilton the breathing room he needed for victory.
Verdict: With Vettel gone, Hamilton took control of the title fight.
Vettel led from the start but Hamilton kept touch and closed to within DRS range by lap 40. The pressure was ramped up on lap 48. A mistake sent the Ferrari across the grass and allowed Hamilton an opportunity. As Vettel rejoined, he squeezed Hamilton to the outside wall, earning him a 5sec time penalty and handing victory to his rival. The debate after the race was all about the penalty – not Hamilton’s drive.
Verdict: Controversial but the pressure told against Vettel.
For the first time in the race’s history, it was wet in Singapore. From the start Vettel attempted to cover off team-mate Räikkönen, who had pinched Verstappen and all three retired before Turn 1. Hamilton missed the drama and emerged ahead. Hamilton then managed the race for a vital win.
Verdict: A crucial result in the 2017 title fight in tough conditions.
Pole went Hamilton’s way but it was Vettel’s Ferrari that launched into the lead. Vettel pitted under the VSC deployed to recover Button’s McLaren, handing the lead to Hamilton – but the VSC was withdrawn just as he entered the pits. Vettel tried but failed to overcome the deficit and Hamilton was left out front.
Verdict: Cute timing and a little luck.
With team-mate Rosberg on the front row, Hamilton aced the start from pole to lead while Nico tumbled to fifth. Despite Pérez shaping for a move, Hamilton held firm. Following the first round of stops, Hamilton led from his team-mate and Vettel. Rosberg closed up to Hamilton in the second stint while Vettel tried a one-stop run. The chasing Mercedes couldn’t make an impression on Hamilton though, while Vettel’s ambitious one-stopper looked a clever move until his right-rear tyre exploded on the Kemmel Straight. Hamilton secured his 39th F1 win by 2sec.
Verdict: Strong pace left the rest floundering.
Hamilton arrived with a 41-point lead but had to settle for second on the grid, with Rosberg claiming pole. With a squeeze on the exit of Turn 2, Hamilton seized the lead. He made his stop on lap 16 and led by 8sec from Vettel. A second stop went without issue and Hamilton took his eighth win of the season.
Verdict: Tough but fair.
Hamilton easily converted pole into the lead over Räikkönen from the start. A brief safety car for a collision between Toro Rosso teammates Sainz and Kvyat closed the field up, but Hamilton launched into a comfortable lead at the restart. The gap he built up in the opening phase of the race proved to be enough to keep Vettel, Verstappen and Bottas at bay. Hamilton’s victory moved him level with Jim Clark’s British GP tally –a milestone more memorable than the race.
Verdict: A historic win to equal Jim Clark.
Hamilton’s pole and Red Bull’s splitting of the two Mercedes drivers played into the Briton’s hands as he led the field from the off. The fast-starting Williams of Massa, the ever-opportunistic Alonso and Nico Hülkenberg relegated Rosberg to seventh as the German struggled due to a loss of telemetry. Massa’s work was undone in the pitstops as the left rear tyre stuck. Rosberg’s recovery continued with a DRS-assisted pass on Vettel before also dealing with Alonso. Hamilton’s win was dominant but with his main rival stuck in traffic it was not one of his best.
Verdict: Uncatchable out front.
Torrential rain arrived on Saturday but that didn’t dampen Hamilton’s spirits as he claimed his record-breaking 69th pole. Race day was a one-man show. He held off Stroll and Ocon at the start before disappearing up the road. By the time Bottas and Vettel cleared the traffic, Hamilton had everything under control and a healthy lead. While there was plenty of drama behind him, Hamilton kept things simple out in front to head home a Mercedes 1-2 on Ferrari soil and take the lead of the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in 2017 by three points over Vettel, rubbing salt in the tifosi wounds.
Verdict: A dominant win on rival turf to take the lead of the Championship.
Hamilton took an early lead from pole but Vettel split the Mercedes drivers at Turn 1. On lap 18, Ferrari pulled Vettel in for an early stop and switched to mediums. Hamilton was in for his stop on lap 26, dropping to second briefly behind a yet-to-pit Verstappen. A VSC on lap 42 gave Vettel the chance to jump onto a fresh set of mediums. Mercedes refused to stop again and Hamilton nursed his medium tyres to victory by some 20sec.
Verdict: Stellar tyre management.
Hamilton drafted past poleman Rosberg at the start and then denied trying to back his team-mate up into the chasing Red Bull of Ricciardo. Hamilton claimed his fifth win of 2016.
Verdict: Clever tactics or unsporting?
The lead Mercedes duo built a gap over the Red Bulls but Ricciardo’s race ended with a puncture on lap 49. Hamilton’s lead was never threatened, winning by 17sec over Rosberg and taking fastest lap. It was the first Mercedes 1-2 of the hybrid era.
Verdict: Set the tone for the V6 era.
Following Vettel’s Belgian tyre blowout, Pirelli had raised tyre pressures ahead of the Italian GP, with the top four cars checked pre-race. Anticipating sanctions for pressures too low on Hamilton’s left rear, Mercedes requested he build a gap to offset a potential penalty. He obliged with a 25sec cushion. Hamilton kept the win following a post-race investigation.
Verdict: Relentless pace paid off.
Hamilton pitted on lap 24 and briefly lost the lead to a yet-tostop Pérez before gaining the place back. From then on, he was unchallenged, while Pérez, Alonso and Massa scrapped for the podium places. The victory moved Hamilton into second in the championship, 37 points behind Alonso and two clear of eventual winner Vettel.
Verdict: An important victory.
Abu Dhabi 2016
Needing victory and Rosberg to finish fourth or lower to win the title, Hamilton drove a defensive race much to the annoyance of his teammate. Hamilton held the lead from pole but didn’t bolt from the pack. The leader was in on lap seven to kick off the pitstops, as Rosberg followed the next lap. Verstappen emerged in second and was a big obstacle to overcome. With his title on the line, a dive into Turn 11 got the job done for Rosberg but Hamilton was well clear. The gap shrank as Hamilton backed his team-mate into those behind. The Mercedes pitwall gave Hamilton the hurry up, but got a blunt reply. Hamilton’s efforts were in vain as Rosberg followed him home in second to win the title.
Verdict: A tactical display not liked by all.
Hamilton initially cantered off into the distance. Rosberg engaged in a tight fight for second with Vettel, but Hamilton’s longer stint allowed his pursuers into the picture and he rejoined less than 1sec in front – before escaping once more.
Verdict: A risky strategy, but made to work.
Hamilton had to outscore Rosberg by two points to secure a third title but it wasn’t going to be straightforward, storms making for an unpredictable afternoon. Several safety cars bunched the field and got Hamilton back in the game after falling out of touch with his team-mate. Then, on lap 48 Rosberg slid heading to Turn 15 allowing his team-mate to take the lead, the win – and the championship.
Verdict: A masterclass in pressure.
Capitalising on a slow start for pole-sitter Webber, Hamilton claimed P1 and held off Robert Kubica along the Kemmel Straight despite a tow favouring the Pole. Drizzle fell, causing issues for several big names. Kubica lost second to Button after a wiggle up Eau Rouge but McLaren’s joy was shortlived. On lap 16, Vettel T-boned Button after misjudging his braking for the final chicane, taking two of Hamilton’s closest rivals out of the equation. Hamilton had a healthy lead but as the rain returned, he opted to stay out. A trip into the gravel at Rivage made the decision for him on lap 35 and Hamilton was in at the end of the lap for intermediates. With a few laps remaining, Alonso crashed, bringing out the safety car. Hamilton retained first at the restart to score his third win of 2010.
Verdict: The conditions kept everyone guessing but Hamilton kept it relatively clean, one minor error not enough to take the win out of his grasp.
This race has been derided by fans as being abysmally boring, but the French GP was governed by Hamilton while his closest rivals were out of contention by Turn 2. Hamilton won at a trot, finishing 7sec clear of Max Verstappen. It was a dominant win, but his closest challengers were wiped out of contention from the start.
Verdict: Boring or not, it was a perfect display from Hamilton out front.
Following one of Hamilton and Formula 1’s great pole laps, the Mercedes man led from the start. While the midfield was involved in drama, the leader had little to worry about until he caught backmarkers. Stuck behind Grosjean and Sirotkin, Verstappen briefly closed up, but after clearing the traffic it was normal service and Hamilton took a crucial victory on the way to the 2018 world title, extending his lead to 40 points.
Verdict: Calm and collected in the Singapore heat.
In front of his home crowd Rosberg took pole, leaving Hamilton with work to do. That job was made easier as Rosberg fell to fourth by Turn 1 and Hamilton took the lead. Verstappen was lunged by Rosberg with a move that forced the Dutchman off track. Rosberg received a 5sec penalty, while Hamilton ran away at the front.
Verdict: Untroubled on rival’s turf.
Sixth on the grid meant a win looked a long shot, yet by lap 29 Rosberg slowed with gearbox trouble and Hamilton breezed into first, all but overturning the points advantage Rosberg had carried into the race.
Verdict: Fortuitous win.
A poor start dropped Hamilton to seventh; later, with Lando Norris leading some 13 seconds up the road, the target was clear. He got to within 1.5sec just as forecast rain arrived in the closing laps, throwing the race into chaos. Norris, on for a maiden win, elected to stay out while Hamilton pitted for intermediates. It proved to be the correct call as the rain intensified. On lap 51 of 53, Norris slipped off the road, handing the lead and a 100th F1 win to Hamilton.
Verdict: Called the changing weather perfectly.
Abu Dhabi 2019
Hamilton had already secured his sixth world title at the US Grand Prix but signed off the season on a high with an 11th victory of the year. He held off Verstappen from pole as the Red Bull driver diced with the Ferraris early on. Leclerc and Vettel were the first of the frontrunners to pit but the latter suffered a slow stop, losing several seconds on lap 12. Hamilton wasn’t in until lap 26 but such was his early pace that he maintained the lead despite the stop. He made it look like a simple drive to the finish after that point, with his closest challenger in Verstappen some way back. The gap was almost at 20sec at its peak. Hamilton crossed the line to cap off one of his strongest seasons in F1 with yet another victory and a sixth grand slam of his career.
Verdict: There was no backing off after his championship success that year.
Hamilton was in at the end of lap 43 for inters as team-mate Rosberg was bearing down, but his decision to stop came at the moment conditions switched away from slicks. It was too late for Rosberg to retaliate, and Hamilton scored a third British GP win.
Verdict: Called it right… again.
The first stint was comfortably led by Hamilton. He made his stop on lap 25 while title rival Vettel opted to stay out. The Ferrari lasted until lap 40 and entered the pit with a 10sec lead. A slow stop cost him time and he rejoined third behind Bottas. It took until lap 65 for Vettel to make a move on the Finn, by which point Hamilton had gone. It put Hamilton 24 points clear.
Verdict: Runaway success.
A seventh pole of the year set Hamilton up for victory. He held firm and pulled away. After the final stops, Hamilton led Räikkönen by 13sec but the Finn made way for his title-contending Ferrari team-mate Massa to limit the damage of Hamilton’s victory.
Verdict: A crushing performance.
Pole man Leclerc gave third-placed Vettel a tow into Turn 2, doing such a good job it allowed his team-mate to sweep into the lead. The Mercedes closed to undercut range, forcing Ferrari to shuffle its pit strategy and renege on a deal to allow Leclerc back past Vettel. Vettel would retire with an MGU-K issue and the VSC to recover one Ferrari sabotaged the other, giving Hamilton the chance to pit and retain the lead over Leclerc and put Bottas into second.
Verdict: Ferrari overthought it, while Hamilton won it.
Lap 24 and Mercedes set up a one-stop to the end, fitting hard-compound tyres as Vettel led. The German made his sole stop on lap 37, followed shortly after by Leclerc on his two-stopper, but the latter lost several seconds due to a sticky right-rear. With the Mercedes now ahead, Hamilton nursed his tyres to win by 1.8sec from a charging Vettel as Leclerc missed out. It was Hamilton’s 10th win of the season.
Verdict: Never shy of a tyre gamble.
Hamilton matched Senna’s pole record of 65 the day before and was not going to be denied a win. Verstappen was up to P2 from fifth at the start, while Bottas ran third. Following a short safety car period, the lead Mercedes began to build a gap. The Red Bull challenge fell victim to reliability, leaving Hamilton unopposed for a sixth Canadian GP win.
Verdict: Winning as records begin to fall.
It was the first race back after the disappointment of losing the 2007 championship and Hamilton responded in the best way possible. Räikkönen made several errors before an engine issue forced him out while in front. Hamilton took his first of five 2008 wins.
Verdict: Bouncing back in style.
With the perfect launch from pole, Hamilton led the field, leaving Bottas to act as rear gunner from the likes of Leclerc and Verstappen. Such was the lead at the first round of stops, Hamilton was serviced after the rest of the frontrunners on lap 24 and still maintained the lead over the yet-to-stop Ferrari of Vettel while closest challenger Bottas was more than 10sec behind. For the rest of the afternoon, Hamilton continued to build the gap and crossed the line 18sec ahead of his team-mate. He was denied a grand slam by a soft-shod Vettel, who took the fastest lap on his way to fifth place.
Verdict: Mercedes was once again unmatched in France. Only Vettel’s late flyer prevented a grand slam.
Hamilton lined up on pole with 90 race victories to his name. Bottas made the better start and, despite a squeeze from Hamilton at Turn 1, stuck it out on the outside to steal the inside line at Turn 2 and hold on to first. It was a lead he held for just 12 more laps as Hamilton launched his counter attack to creep into DRS range and force a mistake from the leader. Braking for Turn 1 on lap 13, Bottas locked up and ran deep, opening the door for Hamilton to storm through. From that point on, only one Mercedes driver was likely to win. A late safety car restart was handled by Hamilton, and he crossed the line 11 laps later to claim win number 91 and equal Michael Schumacher’s wins total.
Verdict: Schumacher-equalling win.
The trip to the Hungaroring would be Hamilton’s Mercedes breakthrough. He narrowly edged out Vettel for pole and led at the start. Hamilton was in for his first stop on lap 10, briefly giving the lead to Vettel. The German would emerge behind the McLaren of Button and couldn’t find a way through for several laps: an eventual passing attempt resulted in front wing damage. The 35°C temperature meant a three-stopper emerged as the fastest route and after the final stops, Hamilton led.
Verdict: The revolution begins.
Pre-race rain had drivers creeping around the early laps. After a switch to dry tyres at the end of lap four, Hamilton escaped. He ended up 8.7sec clear of Verstappen and took his eighth Hungarian victory, matching the record set by Michael Schumacher for wins at a single GP venue.
Verdict: At ease in tricky conditions.
The McLaren Hamilton/Alonso partnership boiled over in Hungary. Hamilton started first by virtue of Alonso being stripped of pole for blocking his ‘team-mate’ in qualifying. Räikkönen chased Hamilton but couldn’t force an error.
Verdict: Shook off team pressure like a leader.
Hamilton and Vettel went head – to-head from the front row and soon pulled clear. Vettel pitted on lap 16 to go for a two-stop, while Mercedes opted to run longer. The delay allowed Vettel to close right onto the gearbox of the Mercedes, but Hamilton kept cool.
Verdict: Defence does the job.
Hamilton covered off Rosberg from pole, and the strategic games commenced. Hamilton backed off during his second stint, causing Rosberg to fall into the clutches of the chasing Vettel. Rosberg complained and Mercedes asked Hamilton to speed up. He obliged, building up a 10sec lead as Rosberg’s tyres wilted. With four laps to go, Verstappen was forced to retire on the pit straight, bringing out the safety car. The race ended under yellow flags, allowing Hamilton to cruise across the line.
Verdict: Tactical driving showed how controlled things were.
Hamilton led from pole but a slow stop on lap 19 put his lead under threat. An even slower stop for Grosjean alleviated those fears and the McLaren driver kept his advantage. Räikkönen was unable to pass, giving the McLaren man a second win of 2012.
Verdict: Staving off the Lotus threat.
Facing a big 24-point gap to Rosberg, Hamilton needed victory. A five-place grid penalty for Rosberg following a gearbox change made taking pole easier. Hamilton led until a tyre failure for Vettel brought out the safety car. The bunching of the pack meant he lost the lead to Rosberg, who’d stopped prior to the safety car. Hamilton was kept at arm’s length until the final stops. Hamilton had fresher tyres and caught Rosberg before going for the lead around the outside of Turn 3. Rosberg turned in late and there was contact, breaking Rosberg’s front wing. The German crawled to the finish as Hamilton breezed by.
Verdict: Got his team-mate to crack under pressure but it was a messy final lap to win.
Win 92 moved Hamilton clear of Schumacher’s mark. Drizzle led to chaotic early laps. Hamilton lost the lead to Bottas and second to Sainz into Turns 8 and 10. The McLaren driver took the lead before Bottas re-passed the Spaniard on lap six and was shortly followed through by Hamilton. By lap 20 he was within range and swept into the lead, lapping everyone up to fourth.
Verdict: Recovered to make history.
Having equalled Schumacher’s pole record of 68, Hamilton wasn’t finished yet. A safety car allowed him to pit without losing the lead but Mercedes went for softs while Vettel was fitted with ultrasofts. At the restart Hamilton resisted Vettel’s charge up Raidillon to retain the lead. It was an important win especially as the tyre advantage was with the Ferrari.
Verdict: Immovable when out in front.
Bottas lined up on pole ahead of Hamilton and the home favourite shadowed his team-mate. Both Mercedes were set for a two-stopper. Following the Finn’s second stop, the team was expecting Hamilton to follow suit until he took control of his own race strategy and persevered on a one-stop.
Verdict: Improvisational impresario.
Hamilton quickly proved that Canada was to be a happy hunting ground, and in his sixth F1 race took his maiden victory. Despite four safety car periods, he controlled the race from the front having taken his first career pole.
Verdict: Big breakthrough.
For the first time since Hamilton won at Indy in ’07, F1 returned to the US and Hamilton showed he hadn’t lost his touch on the other side of the pond. He couldn’t prevent Vettel from taking pole but he wouldn’t be denied victory and a Pirellibranded Stetson. Following Hamilton and Vettel’s pitstops, the McLaren hunted the Red Bull. Hamilton repeated an earlier T12 dive to take the lead from Vettel. From that point on, there was only one winner.
Verdict: A great overtake on Vettel to win.
Hamilton claimed pole but Rosberg led. By Turn 1, the Briton was fourth. Moving up, Hamilton passed Massa and chased Rosberg. It didn’t take long for the pressure to tell; Rosberg locked up and slalomed around the runoff boards to rejoin – behind Hamilton.
Verdict: Pressure pays.
Torrential rain meant the race started behind the safety car. Following errors from Vettel and Alonso, Hamilton and Verstappen had their own moments as the damp patches became precarious on slicks, allowing Rosberg to close back in. Engine issues for the German led Mercedes to break radio rules to get Rosberg to the end, and he was hit with a penalty dropping him to third. Hamilton had no such issues.
Verdict: Played it straight at home.
A surprise two-stop left Max Verstappen helpless as Hamilton cut down a 22sec gap in 23 laps. Having passed a surprisingly stubborn Bottas in the other Mercedes, the gap began to shrink rapidly. With six laps remaining, Hamilton made the race-winning move on Verstappen.
Verdict: Strategy played perfectly.
Bottas took his first pole of the season and took the lead while Hamilton was forced to defend from Verstappen for second. A safety car on lap two to clear debris on the pit straight handed the Red Bull the opportunity to dive around the outside of Hamilton into Turn 1 for P2 but his hard work was soon undone. A wobble into the final corner on lap 10 gave Hamilton the momentum to repay the favour and retake second. Hamilton clawed down the gap to the leader and was able to keep his tyre temperatures under control in the dirty air. With DRS, Hamilton charged around the outside of Bottas to take the lead.
Verdict: Never became tyre-d out.
It was clear by the Spanish GP that nobody could touch Mercedes in the dawn of the turbo hybrid era, yet we were given a bit of jeopardy. Hamilton led during the first stint, but the team gave both drivers a differing strategy. Hamilton was fitted with hard tyres to get to the end of the race while Rosberg had faster mediums. The German shadowed his team-mate and once he’d rejoined following the second stops, Rosberg gained. Hamilton switched to a more powerful engine mode against team instructions to keep Rosberg at bay. The feud begun.
Verdict: Not always playing by the team rules.
A Mercedes 1-2 was headed by Rosberg to set the stage for a Texas two-step between team-mates. Rosberg retained first through the stops but Hamilton upped his pace. Rosberg selected the wrong engine mode to defend. Hamilton forced his team-mate to fall in line.
Verdict: A crucial win.
Having lost the prime grid slot to Verstappen in the first ever Sprint Qualifying, Hamilton knew it was do-or-die on the first lap. The pair went wheel-to-wheel and Verstappen crashed out after contact. Hamilton was handed a 10sec penalty. Following his stop he emerged fourth but a series of fastest laps followed and Leclerc was caught. With three laps remaining, he shaped for a move down the inside. Leclerc gave room but a snap of oversteer opened the door for Hamilton. It was an eighth British GP win.
Verdict: Controversial, but incredible comeback nonetheless.
The Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber collided, putting the German out and forcing Webber to pit. Both McLarens moved up front with Button now on the hunt. A dive into the hairpin gave Jenson the lead but a switchback out of the final corner for Hamilton allowed him to retake first.
Verdict: A tight fight with Button.
Hamilton made it two wins in a row. He qualified on pole and started on the softer compound to maintain his lead at the start. By lap seven his tyres were finished. A slightly faster stop for Ferrari got Alonso ahead as the pair rejoined. Vettel recorded a long first stint and emerged behind both. Hamilton closed on Alonso into the hairpin, and a great run down the back straight secured the lead. Battling past Webber on lap 50 gave Hamilton breathing room. Button caught Alonso napping to seize a McLaren 1-2.
Verdict: Brilliant outmanoeuvring of Alonso.
Pole for Hamilton, but it was not plain sailing despite the lack of overtaking opportunities. On lap 70 Verstappen was handed extra power to get a move done. Into the Nouvelle Chicane, a dive down the inside resulted in minor contact between the two but Hamilton held on for the win on tyres well past their best. He dedicated the win to the recently passed Niki Lauda.
Verdict: An emotional Mercedes win.
The 2020 British GP served up plenty of drama. Hamilton had dominated until the final laps. Bottas dropped out of second after a puncture having passed pit entry with three laps to go. He crawled back as Mercedes agonised over whether to pit race-leader Hamilton. Red Bull pulled Verstappen in for a precautionary stop, opening a gap for Hamilton to drop into and retain the lead, but Mercedes opted against playing safe and he continued onto the final lap. The choice looked precarious as Hamilton suffered his own puncture. He kept control of his Merc at well over 120mph to make it to the line to win from a charging Verstappen.
Verdict: 150mph on three wheels. Brave.
A week after his first F1 win, he followed up with an even stronger display. McLaren team-mate Alonso was his main rival and following the first stops, Alonso was chasing hard. Hamilton held him off and despite Alonso getting first dibs in the second stops, the Briton stayed out front. Their rivalry was reaching boiling point.
Verdict: Intra-team rivalry brewing.
Verstappen bolted leaving Bottas and Hamilton to scrap for second. With a run around the outside of Turn 3, Hamilton seized second and From then on it was Max v Lewis. A second stop for Hamilton caught Red Bull napping. Rapid laps helped Hamilton catch Verstappen on lap 67 of 70 before surging around the outside of Turn 1 to secure the victory.
Verdict: Qualifying pace wins the race.
Hamilton was in on lap 50 for his second stop but a slow rightrear delayed him, rejoining 13sec down on leader Alonso and behind Vettel. He closed on Vettel for second and passed with DRS on lap 62. He then set his sights on Alonso, and took the lead on fresher tyres on the back straight two laps later. It was a formidable performance against two of his closest rivals.
Verdict: Unstoppable force when fired up.
Winter testing revealed that Mercedes would have a fight on its hands, and Verstappen proved it. The Red Bull held Hamilton at bay and Mercedes pitted on lap 14. The undercut on Verstappen forced Red Bull to rethink its strategy and, on lap 18, Hamilton took the lead following Verstappen’s stop. Hamilton was back in for hards on lap 29 and the Dutchman followed on lap 40. Verstappen brought down the 9sec gap. On lap 53, Verstappen went for an move around the outside but Hamilton’s positioning meant the Red Bull exceeded track limits. He was forced to hand the place back and couldn’t retake.
Verdict: Expert defence against Verstappen.
Race day rain made this a game of survival. On lap six, secondplaced Hamilton punctured a tyre after hitting the wall at Tabac but a safety car to recover Coulthard and Bourdais’ cars brought him into contention. Hamilton’s stop for dry tyres on lap 54 proved perfect timing and he leapfrogged his rivals in the pits as the clock ticked over the 2hr limit.
Verdict: Street magic.
F1 arrived at Hockenheim with Hamilton, Massa and Räikkönen equal on points. A crash for Timo Glock brought out the safety car. Most opted to pit but leader Hamilton stayed out, losing a heap of time. Hamilton rejoined in fifth after his stop, yet charged back to win. “Sorry we made that difficult for you,” said Ron Dennis on the radio. “That’s what you hired me for,” was the response.
Verdict: The race looked lost, but for his hard-charging genius.
Mercedes was the class of the field and it set up a titanic duel between team-mates. In the latter stages and on the softer tyres, Rosberg applied pressure as the two Mercs powered into the distance. He couldn’t get Hamilton to crack though and the stage was set.
Verdict: A gloves-off intra-team battle.
Hamilton just missed out on pole to Webber but the duo would be locked in battle with Alonso through the race. In the second stops, Hamilton emerged ahead of Webber, despite a second undercut attempt, but Alonso’s longer stint gave him the lead when he emerged from the pits. Hamilton went on the offensive and surged around the outside of the Spaniard at Turn 2.
Verdict: A great pass on a great rival.
The freshly relaid Istanbul Park surface did not mix well with the rain and made for a treacherous race. Lance Stroll headed up the field from pole as Hamilton move from sixth into third, but a wide moment at Turn 9 allowed Vettel, Verstappen and Albon through. A spin for Verstappen showed how knife-edge conditions were. Stroll led the first stint but opted for fresh inters –a move many others followed, but not Hamilton. Albon’s spin gave Hamilton third and soon the Mercedes driver was flying, finding grip on rapidly disintegrating intermediates. On lap 37, Hamilton had caught leader Pérez and slipstreamed his way by. He then somehow coaxed his inters to the end to win by 31.6sec despite tyres that were down to the canvas. It sealed his seventh world championship title.
Verdict: A special drive to a special title.
Vettel took his third consecutive pole as Hamilton lined up P3 with an extra set of tyres courtesy of a single run in Q3. That decision paid off. Pre-race, a fuel issue almost left him in the garage, but the team got him out just in time. A slow launch for the pole-sitter gave McLaren an early 1-2 as Button led Hamilton. Following the second stops, Hamilton dived past Button into Turn 1, but would be running behind the two-stopping Vettel. After his third stop, Hamilton put the tyres he’d saved to use. Having cut the gap, a bold move to the inside of Turn 7 caught the Red Bull by surprise and sealed the victory for the McLaren driver.
Verdict: Tyre management, strategy and overtakes: perfect performance.